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Questing Ixodes ricinus ticks were sampled monthly in a periurban mixed forest at Neuchâtel, Switzerland, in 1996, 1997, and 1998. A total of 5,530 I. ricinus nymphs and 1,385 adults were collected. The emergence of questing tick populations in spring varied among years in relation to the air temperature. The monthly variation in questing nymph density was negatively correlated with the saturation deficit; there was a strong decrease in tick numbers in late spring and summer as soon as the saturation deficit increased. A variation in tick density in relation to the saturation deficit was also observed between years; the tick density was high when the saturation deficit was low during spring and summer (1997) and was low when the saturation deficit was high (1998). During the 3-year study period, marked climatic differences among years highlighted the influence of temperature and saturation deficit on the phenology of ticks.